Residents vote against Annandale schools constructionby Tom Weber, Minnesota Public Radio
St. Paul, Minn. — Voters in the Annandale School District have overwhelmingly rejected a ballot question that would have approved $45 million for construction projects.
The district wanted to raise property taxes to pay for a new pre-K through 8th grade school, along with a new sports complex and an addition to the high school.
Tuesday's special election was scheduled before the worst of the Wall Street crisis hit.
District leaders say they felt the community understood the need for the new buildings, but they also acknowledged a tax hike would be a tough sell in a bad economy.
Superintendent Steve Niklaus says he'd like to hear from residents as to whether they opposed the actual plan, or just its timing.
"No one said our facilities are good enough. No one said we don't have issues that need to be addressed," said superintendent Steve Niklaus, in an interview. "It was more 'this isn't the time that we feel comfortable doing so.'"
Nicklaus says leaders will now discuss whether to try the failed ballot question again in the future. In the short term, the district will also re-evaluate the repairs and maintenance needed at its aging buildings.
More than two-thirds of the 2,600 people who cast ballots Tuesday voted against the measure. The final tally was: 817 votes for the bond (31%) and 1792 against (69%).